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Vigilant Parlor Stove - coal or wood?

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by John Gold, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. John Gold

    John Gold New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    We just bought a house with a Vermont Castings Vigilant Parlor Stove (1977 is cast on the inside), which I assumed was a wood stove. I went to the VC site and downloaded the Vigilant manual and it indicates it is a coal stove. Which raises some questions:

    1) How do I tell which type it is?
    2) If it's a wood stove, can I burn coal in it and vice versa -- if it's a coal stove, can I burn wood in it?

    Thanks,

    John

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  2. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    706
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    The manual I have for pre-1988 Vigilant stoves indicates it is a wood stove. Here is a link to the manual:

    http://www.fergusonfireplace.com/Defiant_Vig_Res_Intre_Pre88-0029.pdf

    The manual on the Vermont Castings site is for the current stove which is a coal stove.

    Look for a plate on the back of your stove which should tell you which generation it is and a manufacture date. The coal version is lined with firebrick and does not have "1977" on the back panel. It also has a shaker grate handle on the bottom front.

    If you are not sure take a picture of the grates and post it.

    Burn wood in a wood stove & coal in a coal stove. There are some dual fuel stoves but they do not burn either fuel well...

    KaptJaq
  3. John Gold

    John Gold New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Thank you very much for that -- there actually are no grates in the stove at all, but based on your description, I'm pretty sure it's the wood stove. Wood it will be.

    John
  4. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,459
    Loc:
    Southwest NH
    You have chosen wisely. Sounds like you have a wonderful Vigilant there! Run her hot and enjoy!
  5. ithacadoodle

    ithacadoodle New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Ithaca, NY
    For 12 years we have lived in a home with what we understood to be a coal stove as its focal point. We have used it, sometimes with success, but it is so tempermental and difficult to get going well, that many winters went by when we didn't use it at all (we have natural gas heating as well). This year we decided we have had enough of looking at a cold black stove in the middle of the room and would investigate trading it out for a wood stove that we could actually use more frequently. Got a quote for a Jotul and began investigating what our stove really was so that I could sell it on ebay, but wait...it is a Vigilant MultiFuel and I can use it as a wood stove! So glad we did not make an expensive switch!

    Now I am trying to understand how to convert this to the wood set up but am finding more info on setting up for coal. It is the pre 2002 model with the ash tray inside the main front door, and the shaker grates. Right now I have wood burning on the shaker grates which I understand is OK but that the coal insert can be taken out to increase the firebox size. I would like to do this, and removed the shaker grate but then was not sure what other elements were to be removed before I add the firebrick and sand to the bottom. Can anyone point me to instructions for this? many thanks in advance.
  6. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    402
    Loc:
    No. NH
    Don't do it!!! The multi fuel requires at least one part (night air cover; strange name) which is no longer available. Also, it's sort of a pain anyway. If it ever burned coal, chances are the sulpher has caused most of the screws nuts and bolts to sieze. Just sell and find a good used Vig. wood. There are many out there, or just go with what you got. Some find that covering the grates with sheet metal helps the wood burn longer. Don't cover 100% as the air comes in from below. Just a few thoughts...

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